Your Financial Future:
Social Security Checklist
Read these questions and answers on social security to understand your benefits.
1. Have you earned a worker benefit?
Yes, if you’ve worked 10 years (unless you are disabled).
2. Do you know how much your benefit will be?
The Social Security Administration mails everyone their first paper statement around their 25th birthday. You will resume receiving your paper statements once you turn 60. Between those years you will not receive paper statements but can check your statements online by creating an account with the Social Security website. If you haven’t received a paper stament and should have, send for a free estimate by calling 800-772-1213.
You can calculate it on your own by using the Social Security Administration’s Retirement Planner on their Web site at www.socialsecurity.gov/planners.
3. Do you know the earliest age you can collect a retirement benefit?
Age 62 (unless you are widowed).
4. Do you know what happens to your benefit if you retire early?
If you start your benefits early, your benefits are reduced permanently. Your benefit is reduced about one-half of one percent for each month you start your Social Security before your full retirement age. For example, if your full retirement age is 65 and 10 months and you sign up for Social Security when you are 62, you would only get 75.8 percent of your full benefit. (Source: Social Security Administration, www.ssa.gov.)
NOTE: The reduction will be greater in future years as the full retirement age increases.
5. Do you know when widows can start to collect a survivor’s benefit?
Age 60. This age requirement is reduced if you are disabled. If you are taking care of children under the age of 16 there is no age requirement. For more information visit the Social Security webpage on survivor's benefits.